HC Deb 07 May 1962 vol 659 c30
Sir L. Plummer

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. It will be within your knowledge that we have had only 29 Questions asked and answered today in practically an hour. This is frustrating to hon. Members who put down Question on points which they think are of interest to themselves and their constituents only to find them deferred from day to day. It is a hardship to back benchers who find that they cannot get their Questions answered. Can you suggest to the House how our rights can be observed?

Mr. Speaker

I have been reminding myself about the content of the first rule about Questions. The other day I expressed some emotional distress at the use of the formula "Is the Minister aware," followed by the giving of information. It is to be observed that Question have been ruled out of order because they contain an argument. I suspect that if the House were good enough to pay attention to these matters our progress would not be so disastrous as it was today.

Mr. Shinwell

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. Are you aware that one waste of time is attributable to the fact that hon. Members opposite often thank the Minister for his answer although it is thoroughly unsatisfactory?

Mr. Speaker

I am always very loath to discourage discourtesy. I wish that the House would help about this, because we have been struggling with it for some time. It is insufferable to have the Chair intervening all the time to enforce the rules of order. I must rely on the wisdom of hon. Members to help the House to do better. It is not difficult to discover who the offenders are; one has only to read the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Gough

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. I wonder whether you are aware that among the first 26 Questions today there were no fewer than 16 from Scottish Members. Could not Scottish Members be invited to table their Questions on a Scottish day and thereby help us make faster progress?

Mr. Speaker

I think it would be better not to make nationalistic distinctions, but to look at the OFFICIAL REPORT.